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Soren Breiting
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Credible Marketing

Credibility and Trust - Keys to Online Success

By Loren Beckart

New people make their first online purchase every day.
Even when the purchase is something minor, the visitor's
decision whether to buy from your website always involves
establishing your credibility and inspiring their trust.
After all, the buyer is taking a leap of faith that when
they hand over their credit card information, address, and
so on, they are actually going to get something in return.
Even to a sophisticated online buyer, first time purchases
from an unfamiliar website can feel risky.

A variety of strategies for establishing credibility
online can be applied to give your site visitors confidence
in you. They're far more likely to make a purchase when
they are assured that they aren't going to be fooled or
disappointed or ripped off.

The foundation for establishing trust is simple: make sure
that every bit of your sales copy is truthful. When what
you say is true, it just sounds true. Certainly, you want
to be persuasive in describing your offer and benefits, but
resist any temptation to exaggerate or evade.

Next, include details that make your descriptions
realistic. For example, don't use estimates or rounded
numbers. Instead, use specific quantities. Say the exact
amount, "3,857" rather than saying, "Nearly 4,000."

Make sure there is a human presence on the site. A
personal photograph, contact information, and so on.

Become a real person to the shopper by giving verifiable
evidence of your expertise and legitimacy. For example, if
you have written and published articles on topics related
to the product or service, or if you have related
credentials, include a reference to them.

Use favorable materials from outside sources. Examples
include independent test results, reviews, quotes from
experts about similar products to yours, awards, etc. These
third party materials virtually amount to endorsements. And
of course, if you have endorsements, highlight them in your

Definitely use testimonials. In online sales copy,
testimonials should come early. Although audio is tested
and proven to get better results, use text if that's what
you've got. Start today, if you haven't been collecting
testimonials already. Begin by asking for feedback from
people who are already your customers. To get testimonials
for a new product, give some fr~ee trials. Make sure there
are no strings attached so that you get honest feedback -
ask that the fr~ee trial users give a testimonial only if
they think it is truly deserved.

Characteristics of good testimonials include the
following. First and last name: Fred W. isn't as credible
as Fred Walters. When possible, include city, state, type
of business or business name. But don't include a link to
their site or a tag-line. That smacks of exchanging fr~ee
advertising for the testimony. Also, the testimonial should
be brief, focusing on a single aspect. As much as possible,
only use those that talk about measurable results.

Use some or all of these strategies to establish
credibility and trust, and you will greatly enhance your
sales. In the end, it doesn't matter if your offer is
terrific and your product is miraculous unless the prospect
believes in you.
Loren Beckart is Director of Marketing for ClickTracs Advertising, providing highly targeted visitors to online businesses. For additional articles from a leading resource on the subject of marketing online, visit